For three generations now, our family has had a vocational and personal calling to treat scoliosis. My mother, Katharina Schroth, developed what she called the “three-dimensional scoliosis treatment” before 1920. As a child, I was already involved with the treatment of scoliosis patients, and in the end, I decided to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
In Sobernheim in 1961, together with my mother, I established an institute for rehabilitating patients with spinal deformities, where, under my direction, up to 150 patients were housed and treated according to our intense treatment concept. In the 1980s, my son Dr. med. Hans-Rudolf Weiss teamed up with his wife to develop a Germany-wide advanced training program for physiotherapists. Thanks to his scientific work as the head physician of what was then the Katharina Schroth Clinic, the effectiveness of our method was able to be demonstrated. Since that time, the three-dimensional scoliosis treatment according to Katharina Schroth has caught on around the world.
Up until the 1970s, my mother and I almost exclusively treated patients with very severe scoliosis. At the end of the 1970s, it finally occurred to me that there are different curvature patterns, each of which requires its own method of treatment. In addition, my son’s findings are the basis for treating more mild curvatures differently than pronounced ones, a concept with successful results.
Even treatment using braces has become simpler nowadays. As late as in the 1980s, around 50 percent of scoliosis victims could not wear their braces due to pain. The devices were quite large, sometimes reaching all the way from the thighs to the chin (Milwaukee brace). Even the brace developed by Dr. Chêneau from Toulouse originally protruded a fair amount, causing adverse effects beyond merely cosmetic considerations.
In 1999, my son was the first to develop a better Chêneau brace. Since then, it has become clear that one pelvic half of the brace can generally be done without and that, for some curvature patterns, even a short design delivers excellent results. For those who are afflicted, the developments that have taken place in our family’s history have been a true blessing. According to the current state of knowledge, the prospect of success offered by non-surgical scoliosis treatment is greater than 90 percent. The physiotherapeutic treatment has been simplified and the braces relatively comfortable to wear and no longer causing major discomfort, provided that treatment is being monitored by an experienced physician.
I am happy and proud that my son has been so successful in taking up this traditional pursuit of our family and that the developmental process initiated on behalf of the patients continues on. This guidebook, which is now being published in its 9th edition, has already been a great help to many scoliosis patients. Especially at a time when a great many contradicting and dubious things are being spread over the Internet, scientifically verified information from the pen of an expert is extremely valuable. That is why I hope this book enjoys a wide circulation.